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Tue Feb 17, 2015, 03:31 AM


Managers bunk down at U.S. refineries as strike enters third week

U.S. oil refinery managers are going to the mats, literally, during the biggest fight with union workers in 35 years, bedding down for a third strike week that experts and some employees say raises concerns over safety and operations.

At the 135,000 barrel-per-day refinery just outside of Toledo, Ohio, run by BP Plc (BP.L) and Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO), most of the nearly 300-person staff have been calling the refinery home since Feb. 9. For the last week, they have slept on recently purchased mattresses inside rental trailers to rapidly respond to any problems and avoid striking workers, sources say.

On Tuesday, a van full of washing and drying machines gingerly cut through about a dozen United Steelworkers carrying pickets and walking a strike line at the facility's front gate.
Those efforts underscore how far operators are willing to go to retain normalcy in the face of the largest national U.S. refinery strike since 1980. And as more replacement workers join the ranks here and the other eight refineries where strikes have occurred, more questions are arising about potential safety and production risks from an extended walkout.

While such warnings may seem a self-serving negotiating tactic, even some on the other side of the line are concerned. John Ostberg, a non-union control engineer who works in the main computerized control center at Toledo, quit his job on Monday weeks before he was scheduled to retire.

For months, Ostberg has been warning his bosses in emails about their plans to rely on replacement workers and supervisors if a strike occurred. He feared they were not properly trained, or too far removed from the frontlines, to respond to unit upsets and other problems that can escalate quickly without experienced intervention.

“Management says it’s safe. I disagree,” Ostberg said in a phone interview on Thursday.


I pray that they will win. We need a win.

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Reply Managers bunk down at U.S. refineries as strike enters third week (Original post)
ND-Dem Feb 2015 OP
ND-Dem Feb 2015 #1

Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Tue Feb 17, 2015, 12:36 PM

1. kick. this is one of the most important labor actions of the decade, but no one cares?


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